UFC 250: Cody Garbrandt had to ‘fake the funk’ before finding his way

Cody Garbrandt had to fake the emotion that fueled the first leg of his UFC career.

Former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt just shook up the 135-pound division with a buzzer-beater knockout over Raphael Assuncao at the end of round two at UFC 250. This marks Garbrandt’s first win in the UFC since winning his bantamweight title in 2016 from Dominick Cruz. In 2019 we became aware that Garbrandt began sharing some of his training time with world-renowned striking coach Mark Henry, and UFC 250 was his first showcase since the change.

In the post-fight press conference Saturday night at UFC 250 the newly resurged former champion addressed the media about what lead to the reinvention of his training and fight game. Aside from switching up his training camp and coaching, Garbrandt was also battling with his own demons and getting acclimated to becoming a father. Garbrandt explains that the anger and emotion he would traditionally use to fuel himself with for fights wasn’t the route to a sustainable and successful championship run.

“It was me trying to be something I’m not,” Grabrandt said. “I’m a savage in there naturally, I’m a savage person. I can flip the switch, I don’t have to pump myself up to fight. And that’s what I was having to do, I was having to fake the funk. I had to fake the funk in there. You know what I mean, I was like oh (expletive) I have to fight, oh damn it, you what I mean. I never want to do that. I got back to that love. Honestly man, Chris Holdsworth use to have it blasted all over his vision board, always with the hashtag, hard work pays off. And that’s the simplest truest statement you can have in this sport and in this life. Hard work will always pay off.”

Before UFC 250 Cody Garbrandt wasn’t working as hard as he should have been

Garbrandt’s new close association with Henry has already paid off, not only with his walk-off knockout with only one second left in the second round Saturday night at UFC 250 in Las Vegas, Nevada but also with his philosophical approach to his mixed martial arts career.

“So you just have to work, work, work work, and keep working, and continue to work,” he said. “No matter how many times you get knocked down you got to pick yourself back up and just keep clawing forward. That’s what I’m doing right now. Just back to the hard work, let the coaches you know, I got to kind of go in my own ways and let the coaches just kind of you know to take the ropes, and just go with him.”

Garbrandt made it clear that he is only interested in a fight with No. 3 ranked bantamweight Petr Yan after his highlight-reel knockout over Raphael Assuncao Saturday night. According to an announcement UFC president, Dana White made on May 27, Yan will fight No. 6 ranked bantamweight and former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo for the vacant bantamweight title at a date and location to be determined. Without an official announcement, the future of the bantamweight title picture hangs in the balance.

UFC 250 took place on Saturday, June 6, 2020, live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided for all your live news and highlights.